Eating well is directly related to feeling well hence when children eat well they feel good about themselves. During the preschool years, the child starts eating the same foods as the rest of the family does.
A parent’s job is to offer foods having nutritional value in an environment which is calm and keeping it as a regular habit. Now it’s the duty of the child to let the parent know about their hunger requirements as to how much they need when food is offered to them.
8 Tips for Parents:
- Offer healthy foods. Essential vitamins and minerals are required for a child to grow hence different types of food must be incorporated in the diet of a preschooler. Now when talking about healthy food options, the best options are your home cooked fresh veggies which contains essential vitamins and fruits, dairy products having low fat (such as milk and yogurt) or dairy substitutes of dairy (such as soy milk), protein from (beans, chicken, fish, tofu , eggs), and whole wheat bread and cereals.
- Preschoolers should not be expected to completely finish. Even if an appropriate portion be served up to the preschoolers it cannot be expected of them to finish everything that is served to them. It would be a better option if they are given the freedom to choose the amount of portion themselves which would make them understand their own appetite if they after having their meal are still not able to finish their portion. Some of the preschoolers maybe picky by nature hence they should not be forced by the parents to try everything new but there is no wrong in encouraging them to do so.
- A family eating. A regular meal along with suitable portion should be given. Children mostly gobble up foods that are offered as snacks to them since snacks being better at taste than the main meals provided as a matter of fact hence they might not be hungry at the time of meals offered which has more nutrients in it. So a family eating at such times can encourage the child to sit with the family and enjoy family gathering and may find new foods at the table to be worth a try.
- Sugary drinks and processed foods. Today the amount of processed food that is consumed in a household is a lot in quantity but the quality and effect on our bodies is not much significant, so the preschoolers should be limited on its consumption. Sugary drinks are the causes of cavities, unwanted weight gain and also reduces bone density. So preschoolers should be kept away from such drinks as the preschool years are the most important years of growth. Soda, juice lemonade, sports drinks are the examples of sugary drinks.
- Water and milk should be preferred. Milk and water are the best drinks that can be offered to a preschooler unless they are lactose intolerant, in which case milk can be replaced by soy milk. Milk contains vitamin D and calcium which is good for building bones and stronger muscles. Ice cream is okay once in a while, but it should not be offered every day.
- Small portions should be preferred. Important measures should be taken while deciding portion sizes for the child. It is common sense that a child of 2 to 4 years will have lesser appetite and portion size as compared to an adult hence encouraging the children to have their own servings can help and also use smaller plates and bowls for such purpose so that the children are easily able to judge a portion size.
- TV should be off-limits during meals. Television watching is good but the challenges which can be faced by you and your child during meal-times if there is no restriction on watching television can have adverse effects your child’s growth, then it can be disadvantageous for your child. Advertisements today focus a lot on processed food and sugary items which are not good for the health of the kids but due to their intriguing nature easily influence the minds of the innocent preschool kids during meal-times and make them crave the processed foods such advertised, like sugary drinks, fast foods, and sweets. To combat this TV should be off-limits during meals and bed-time.
- Table manners. Basic table manners are a must during the preschool years since now the children have developed better understanding of their household. Definitely the kid cannot do it on its own but with a little help of an adult can easily learn such skill like holding a fork and knife in the hands as adeptly as an adult or eating with a spoon without spilling all around the table and without making a mess. Such things are unavoidable and also fun in some sorts, since your child is showing efforts to learn such skill which is commendable. Teaching other table manners, such as keeping the mouth shut while eating, using a napkin to avoid any spills, and not trying to reach across another’s plate which should be checked at the earliest. Actions speaks more than words and especially for a preschooler it does, so modeling such rules rather than just explaining them to your child is an important step to table manners. Watching and following the lead of their family members will help them instill good table manners. If a family eats together then it is easier to develop such habits. Hence the togetherness of a family will develop a stronger bond between all the members of the family which is an important role of a parent.